Last time, we covered how to effectively respond to a hotel request for proposal (RFP). This time, in the last of our series on RFPs, let’s take a look at how to handle them electronically.
Like just about everything else these days, event planners shopping for venues appreciate the opportunity to go paperless when it comes to searching for venues and submitting a request for proposal (RFP).
Taking a cue from the online reservation search engines sprouting up all over the web these days, someone figured out how to “make an app for that.” StarCite.com and Conventionplanit.com are dedicated to bringing meeting planners and venues together in one convenient place, though planners have been known to seek direct connections with hotels rather than go through a third party.
Still, if your facility is relatively new, uploading your RFP information into one of these databases could be a good way to get on convention planners’ radar or pick up last minute, fast-turnaround contracts for shorter, small-group meetings.
Your Own Website
Working with your website administrator, it should be easy to design a simple series of forms that will walk event planners through submitting an RFP directly on your website. Once they click “Submit,” you’ll receive an email notification.
Free templates are available online, many of which include instructions on how to put together everything, from the “front end” (online user interface and functionality) to the “back end” (reporting of user data to use toward future tweaking). Bring your paper RFP to the design meeting with your web admin to tweak the template or design a custom online form.
Just because almost everything involving an RFP can be accomplished electronically doesn’t mean you can let your effective business communications skills slide! RFP submission involves the ability to write courteous and professional letters.
- RFP Letter of Intent
Depending on the specific steps for submission outlined in the event planner’s initial RFP (which you must follow exactly!), you may be asked to submit a letter of intent (also known as a query letter) before you are asked to send the actual response.
- RFP Proposal Cover Letter
Also known as a letter of transmittal, this letter should accompany your response to an event planner’s request for proposal. It should outline your organization’s authorization of the proposal and emphasize why your hotel is the best venue for the event.
- RFP Response Letter
This is a separate letter that can be sent directly to the originator of the RFP, stating your interest in this and/or a related event and explaining how your facility can best meet the requirements of the RFP you’ve just received. Think of it as giving the event planner the heads-up to expect a proposal soon.
In this series, we walked you through the sometimes-confusing world of hotel requests for proposal. Contact Smart eHotels™ today and we’ll help you sharpen your RFP process so you’ll rise to the top of the competition.